Nissan Australia has today confirmed the departure of managing director and CEO, Richard Emery, and announced his successor, Stephen Lester.
No explanation for Emery’s exit has been offered, although it is known he is not moving to another position within the global Renault Nissan alliance. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the change in management.
An outspoken leader, Emery was openly critical of government inaction on electric vehicle infrastructure and never short of a colourful quote. Likewise, he kept no secrets of his frustration with the brand’s market share and product spread in Australia. He was also a driving force behind Nissan’s local motorsport activities.
Emery previously held senior management positions with Land Rover, Audi, Mitsubishi and Mercedes-Benz, before joining Nissan Australia as CEO in early 2014.
His successor, Stephen Lester (below), comes to the Australian arm from Canada, where he led the region’s Infiniti operation for two years.
“Stephen Lester’s arrival at Nissan Australia coincides with our plans for the brand’s next direction and he brings to our Australian team strong experience, knowledge and business-building skills,” said Yutaka Sanada, Regional Senior Vice President and Head of Nissan in the Asia and Oceania region.
Nissan Australia’s media release offers little on Lester’s background, although the company’s overseas portal notes that he has worked in the industry for nearly 15 years, holding management positions previously with BMW Group. His work with BMW began in marketing before moving into regional sales and service management.
Moving to Infiniti Canada, Lester was made general manager, responsible for sales and service operations, retailer performance and generating business development. He became managing director in 2015.
Lester holds a degree in Sports Management.